I'm pregnant and my doctor says my pregnancy is "high-risk." What does this mean?

    A "high-risk" pregnancy means that you have one or more things that raise your — or your baby's — chance for health problems or preterm (early) delivery.

    Some of these things are: 

    • being 17 years old or younger
    • being 35 years old or older
    • being underweight or overweight before becoming pregnant
    • being pregnant with twins, triplets, or other multiples
    • having high blood pressure, diabetes, depression or another health problem 
    • having problems with a previous pregnancy, including premature labor or having a child with a genetic problem or birth defect

    Not getting prenatal care, smokingtaking illegal drugs, and drinking alcohol also can cause health problems for a pregnant woman and her baby. 

    Because your pregnancy is considered high-risk, it's important to work with your doctor or care team to get any health problems that can be managed under control.

    Other tips for a healthy pregnancy include:

    • See your doctor early on and throughout your pregnancy for prenatal care.
    • Eat a healthy diet (getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, etc.) and exercise if your doctor says it's OK.
    • Gain a healthy amount of weight (not too much or too little).
    • Protect yourself from infections (including Zika). Be sure to wash your hands well and often; not eat raw meat, fish, or unpasteurized cheese; get any immunizations your doctor recommends; and use condoms to protect against STDs.
    • Reduce stress in your life.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2020 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com